Originally Posted by rmt
This. Jordan pretty much had a perfect career. Of course, at the beginning his team wasn't good enough but the statistical dominance, 6 rings and 6 FMVPs (in addition to the global impact he had on basketball) will be very difficult to overcome.
Plus his career has the built in mystique of like say a Barry Sanders. Guy retired just a 1,000 or so yards from the all-time rushing title. Which for him was a little less than one full season. He walked away that close to it, and it took Emmitt Smith extra years to pass it, and with a much better offensive line.
By walking away that close, he will forever be attached to the award, while never actually holding it. He walked away at the right time to retain a mystique, to be a legend. Everyone will always comment on how he could've got it if he wanted it.
Same goes for MJ. The man was the UNDISPUTED best player in basketball from '89 - '98. Actually should've been the MVP award winner in '89, '90, '93, and '97.
The man walked away from the sport at the pinnacle of his dominance of it, where he had an unquestionable strangle hold on the throne. Left after just 8 seasons, after a three peat, became a living legend ... got a statue REAL QUICK. His play, his entertainment value bought the city of Chicago alone a new stadium.
He left two years of his absolute peak / prime in limbo, by essentially being gone for two full seasons, which add even more mystique to his legend.
We could assume (and it is very probable) that there would've been MVPs, Championships, Finals MVPs, All NBA 1st Teams, Scoring Titles, All NBA 1st Team Defense, Steals Leader, etc. added to his already stud like resume.
He could've REALISTICALLY been the first alpha dog superstar since the Russell / Cousy Celtics to lead a team to 4x straight championships. A feat unheard of ... and still yet to be duplicated.
If he played in '94 and the full season of '95, his career point totals would have him sitting pretty near the top next to Kareem, or above him. Along with probable addittional MVPs.
His career as it stands is the best, and then you throw in the missing years of his prime / peak, and even the years of his twilight (1999, 2000, and 2001) and you have a career resume that will never be duplicated.
If he played for the Bulls in '99, 2000, and 2001 ... given his averages in '98 as a 35 year old (28 ppg), add in residual regression. I say in '99 he averages 27 ppg, 2000 he averages 26 ppg, and in 2001 averages 25 ppg.
And mind you, in 2002 as a 39 year old and before that devastating knee injury he was putting up 25 / 5 / 5 ... so these numbers aren't asinine or pulled from the anus.
And don't give me the Kobe stan response of he wouldn't have been able to hold up. MJ was more durable than Kobe. As durable as current LeBron, and only had two major injuries in his career. One a freak accident as a young man, and another a knee injury as an old as dirt man in a young man's game.
With those years he's EASILY the all-time leader in scoring. So as it stands his current resume is GOAT, then throw in the mystique of PROBABLE hypotheticals and it isn't even CLOSE.
Guy already should've had like 7 or 8 MVPs, then include the '94 and '95 seasons. Maybe add 2 - 3 rings to his total, an MVP or two and then the addition of the twilight years where he'd no longer be the best in the league, but still ELITE and putting up big numbers compared to league averages. It's borderline INSANE how great this man was. His athleticism dominated the league, his skill dominated the league, his will power dominated the league, and his intelligence dominated the league.
He re-invented himself and re-molded his game, time and time again to stay relevant, and dominant. There will be no one like this man ever again, and as great as LeBron is ... he doesn't have a lot of the stuff MJ had in his overall arsenal. And I absolutely feel LeBron is the greatest player SINCE MJ. Yes, even better than Shaq / Duncan / KG / Kobe / Wade.
Originally Posted by rmt
Duncan and Kobe have no chance to be better than MJ. Their prime just wasn't anywhere near as dominant.
That too. No one's prime / peak touches MJs. His prime arguably lasted from '89 - '98. Almost a full decade. And if he played, I'm pretty sure he still would've been the best player in the game in the lock out shortened 1999 season as well.